USB Server logs on to the network

The USB Server plugs into Ethernet at one end and USB at the other, enabling sharing of USB devices over a network, say its manufacturers

Keyspan, a US-based maker of connection devices for computers, showed off a device at the CES show in Las Vegas this week that lets PCs and Apple Mac computers access USB devices over a network.

The USB Server lets computers access a USB device over a wired or wireless network. Aside from giving shared access to USB CD drives, scanners and Flash-based memory drives, it can also act as a print server for USB printers, said Keyspan, which expects the device to go on sale in the US before the end of March for about $129 (£71). Worldwide pricing and availability has not yet been announced. "Its most innovative use may be to enable Wi-Fi-based laptops to connect to remote USB devices," said Mike Ridenhour, president of Keyspan, in a prepared statement.

The USB Device Server has four ports for connecting to USB devices at 12 Mbps, and connects to 10/100 Ethernet networks via an RJ45 connector. It supports static IP, DHCP, and Apple's Rendezvous address assignment. Client PCs must be running Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Mac OS X 10.2.8 or higher to be able to work with the server and discover the devices attached to it, said Keyspan.